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Full text of "A Legend of Wicklow and other poems"

A 

LEGEND 

OF 

WICKLOW 



Bruce Malaher 







C^' 



PR 
6025 
A44 
U 



A Legend of Wicklow 

And other Poems 



This edition is limited 
to 350 copies. 



A Legend of Wicklow 

And other Poems 



BY 

BRUCE MALAHER 



LONDON : 

F. & E. STONEHAM, LTD. 

79 CHEAPSIDE, E.C. 

1915 



Digitized by the Internet Archive 
in 2013 



http://archive.org/details/legendofwicklowoOOmala 



TO 

MY DEAR FRIEND 

F. M. W. 

IN MEMORY OF MANY HAPPY 

DAYS IN A SWEET 

COUNTRYSIDE 



CONTENTS. 



PAGE 

A Legend of Wicklow .... 9 

The Call . . . - - 10 

The Poor Man's Treasury - - - - 11 

Stolen Apples ...... 12 

The Tryst ... ... 13 

Russet Leaves ...... 14 

Night ....... 15 

Shadows ....... 16 

Reverie - ------ 17 

Thoughts ....... 18 

Wind and Rain .---.. 19 

Hope the Helmsman ..... 20 

Will o' the Wisp ----- 21 

Sunny Provence ...... 22 

Trianon ....... 23 

Notre Dame - - - - - - 24-25 

Lanterns ---..-. 26 

Derwentwater -..-.- 27 



Memories - 

The Pipes of Pan 

Friendship 

The Fairy Ring - 

Morn 

Christmastide 

Windows Drear - 

The Bird of Hope 

The Cuckoo 

The Night Storm 

Mother Mine 



PAGE 

28-29 
30 
31 
32 
33 

34-35 
36 

37-38 
39 
40 
41 



POEMS. 



A LEGEND OF WICKLOW. 

The wind is moaning o'er the hills, 
There is a strange light in the sky ; 
Down the avenue all the trees 
Are shivering in the evening breeze 
As it hurries quickly by. 

Up from the valley by the sea 

Come huntsmen through the mist and rain ; 

The watch-dog sleeping in the yard 

Pulls at his chain, though the door is barred, 

And howls as if in pain. 

Beneath my window, swift they pass, 
Then darkness swallows them out of sight ; 
And black clouds scud across the sky 
As the demon troop go shrieking by, 
For the Devil rides out to-night. 

With noisy laugh, and hideous jest. 
Over the Wicklow hills they go ; 
Deep-throated hounds the echoes raise, 
Whilst o'er the trees the lightning plays : 
— My chamber lamp burns low. 

Whence they come and whither they go 
None in the countryside can tell. 
But the peasants cross themselves and pray 
To the Saints above — till the break of day, 
When they hear the hounds of Hell. 



^ 



THE CALL. 

A joint of beef, and a jug of beer, 

A blazing fire where the pine logs hiss, 

What cosier room or better cheer 

Could any man want on a night like this ? 

But the cry of the plover comes to me 

From over the mud-flats by the sea. 



To cross the marshes in search of fowl, 
With great thigh boots and a ten-bore gun. 

Through misty rain and the night wind's howl, 
This is a pleasure second to none ; 

Waiting to hear the wild geese fly 

Like a pack of hounds across the sky. 



ID 



THE POOR MAN'S TREASURY. 

Yes, you are mine, Oh, beautiful grass ; 

You wave to me, 
Stirred by the winds that lightly pass 

Silent and free. 

The earth is mine, the rich brown soil 

Beneath my head. 
When tired with the long day's toil 

I seek my bed. 

The scented air is mine too, and 

The distant view ; 
The clouds that pass across the land, 

I own them too. 

Around the trunk of every tree 

My arms entwine ; 
I gather from the wandering bee 

A joy divine. 

I love it all, the sunlit world 

So great so fair. 
The banner of my heart unfurled 

Is swelling there. 

The earth, the sky, the restless sea 

From pole to pole. 
All, all these things belong to me, 

A humble soul. 



IT 



STOLEN APPLES. 

Blow, winds, blow 

As you merrily go 
Into the orchard and under the trees, 
Knocking the ripening apples down, 
The sun-kissed apples all ruddy and brown, 
Wickedly, wantonly, as you please. 

Hold, winds, hold, 

So greedy and bold. 
The sheep are watching you from the lea, 
Watching the rollicking band of thieves 
Peeping and playing amongst the leaves. 
Stealing the apples off every tree. 



Fly, winds, fly 

Across the sky, 
Here comes the farmer who carries a stick ; 
^ — But the laughing voices echoing say. 
From over the valley and far away, 
** If he wishes to catch us he'd better be quick." 



12 



THE TRYST. 

The sun has sunk in crimson fires, 
Gilding the palaces and spires, 
And now a sound of hurrying feet 
Comes down the narrow cobbled street ; 
From poops of vessels in the stream 
The swinging lanterns faintly gleam, 
And crooked shadows leap and play. 
Speeding the lover on his way. 

A maid sits in her chamber high, 
Counting the moments as they fly. 
Till watching trees above the lane 
Tap softly on her window pane : 
Then eagerly she gazes down 
Over the silent sleeping town. 
Whilst through the windows on the stair 
Pale moonbeams linger in her hair. 

From the high crumbling garden wall 
Roses and creepers mingling fall 
Over the door where the lovers meet 
Down below in the starlit street ; 
Within the garden, out of sight, 
A fountain murmurs through the night. 
Where myrtle trees and ilex high 
Stand out against the purple sky. 

His ardent eyes delight to trace 
The witching beauty of her face, 
Whilst rubies glimmer in her hair 
Like fire-flies imprisoned there. 
Surrounded by the scented flowers. 
Too quickly pass the happy hours. 
Sweet lovers, gather while you may 
The pleasures of the passing day. 
13 



RUSSET LEAVES. 

When across the misty mountains, purpled deep with heather 

bright, 
Comes the sea breeze softly stealing through the shadows of 

the night. 
Then the dark mysterious branches sway above my garden 

wall. 
And the tinted leaves of autumn in a russet shower fall. 



On the path below they linger, gently rustling where I tread, 
Whilst the trees above are sighing for the summer that is 

dead; 
But these leaves which dance so gaily as the breeze sweeps 

down the lane, 
I shall soon, alas, find lying dank and sodden in the rain. 



14 



NIGHT. 

The last red rays of sunset sink behind the wooded hill, 
And as the twilight deepens, all the countryside is still : 
The twinkling stars peep one by one — God's lanterns in the 

sky — 
And tired birds are sleeping in the tree tops dark and high. 



Across the misty meadow-land the river's song is borne. 
Where scarlet poppies nod their heads in fields of waving 

corn. 
Whilst mingled with its singing comes the breeze's soft 

refrain ; 
And clambering roses gently tap against my window-pane. 



The glow-worms glimmer in and out among the sleepy 

flowers, 
And jewelled fire-flies flit about and dance away the hours; 
The shadows deepen on the lawn, the moon is sailing high, 
Night reigns upon the silent earth, and in the starry sky. 



IS 



SHADOWS. 

In the silence of my chamber when the shades of evening 

fall, 
And the firelight gleams and dances with the pictures on the 

wall j 
At the quiet hour of twilight ere the lamps begin to glow, 
It is then, the haunting shadows of my chamber come and 

go- 
Through the room I see them flitting, and without, upon 

the stair 
Is a sound of footsteps passing, steps of men no longer there; 
Then a distant laugh re-echoes down the passage once 

again 
Whilst upon my casement window comes the patter of the 

rain. 

When the work up here is ended, and my college days 

expire, 
When another takes this easy chair, and sits before the fire, 
AVill that other man, I wonder, see my shadow moving 

there, 
Will he hear my footsteps passing down the old familiar 

stair ? 



i6 



REVERIE. 

Within my room are books around the wall, 
Which are to me as trusted friends and true ; 

And these, when silently the shadows fall, 
Contain, I find, both treasures old and new. 

On winter's eve, with chair before the fire 
And curtains red most comfortably drawn, 

I take a book, then with my favourite briar, 
Read on into the early hours of morn. 

Oft, at my window, far into the night 

Standing to drink the earthy smell of rain, 

I watch the glimmer of some distant light 
And hear the rumble of a passing train. 

No other sound beyond the sighing trees 
Disturbs the quiet of the evening air, 

Save the green ivy rustling in the breeze 
As the wind whispers softly here and there. 



17 



THOUGHTS. 

Silver moon and twinkling stars 

Through my window softly peeping, 
Do you watch me all the night 
With your eyes serene and bright, 
While I'm sleeping? 

Can you see inside the nests 

Where the birds live in the trees ? 
There is such a lot of singing 
When their little homes are swinging 
In the breeze. 

How about the noisy rooks, 

Are they all asleep in bed ? 
Every day I hear them crying. 
See them wheeling round and flying 
Overhead, 

But the quiet dewy evening 

Is the time that I love best ; 
All the busy day forgetting. 
When the golden sun is setting 
In the west. 



i8 



WIND AND RAIN. 

From misty hollows on the hills 

The wind and rain come hand in hand, 
With eager haste they hurry by, 
And banks of clouds across the sky 
Cast shadows o'er the land. 

The wind is rustling through the corn, 

The leaves are stirring in the lane, 
And now upon the lichened wall 
Big splashing drops begin to fall ; 
The hills are blurred with rain. 

Over the waving trees they go, 

Across the meadows to the town, 
Dancing on roof and window pane. 
The howling wind and driving rain 
Come rushing madly down, 

Down the chimneys and round the eaves 

Whistles the wind its cheerful lay. 
Whilst far out in the open sea 
White horses are racing merrily, 
And the ships toss in the bay. 

Away, away to the distant hills 

The wind and rain go hand in hand. 

Leaving a rainbow on the shore ; 

And now the golden sun once more 
Is shining o'er the land. 



19 



HOPE THE HELMSMAN. 

Sadly sighing, sadly sighing, 

Are the tree-tops tall and bare, 
Whilst the autumn leaves are lying 

Blown by breezes here and there. 
As the waves of deep depression, 

My faint heart would overwhelm, 
Be this thought my great possession, 

Hope remains to take the helm. 

Softly sighing, softly sighing. 

Ends the winter's cruel reign ; 
Birds and flowers no longer dying. 

For the spring has come again. 
All around is life and beauty 

Under sunshine's magic spell. 
And upon the sea of duty 

Hope has steered my vessel well. 



20 



WILL O' THE WISP. 

Who is this who comes a-dancing 
Through the darkness of the night, 

Hard of hearing, 

And appearing 
With a swaying lantern light ? 

" Stay, you fellow," cries the traveller, 
'^ I have journeyed far to-day ; 

Come and guide me. 

Woe betide me 
If I chance to lose my way." 

Nearer, nearer, then receding, 
Dances still the goblin light ; 

" Getting foggy. 

Marsh is boggy," 
Calls the traveller in his plight. 

But an answer came there never — 
Though the lantern flickered on ; 

And the dawning 

Of the morning 
Found both horse and rider — gone. 



SUNNY PROVENCE. 

Half hidden by the leafy trees 

Lies an old chateau grim and bare^ 
Its battlemented walls are high, 
And turrets stand against the sky 
Guarding the secrets there. 

Across its sun-bathed terraces 

The scented breezes softly blow, 
Around the steps the roses climb, 
Sweet fragrant flowers of summer time, 
Up from the earth below. 

Towards the sundial on the lawn 

A gorgeous peacock struts along. 
Whilst in the valley deep, beyond 
The garden and the lily pond, 
A river sings its song. 

Anon a lazy diligence 

Winds slowly up the dusty road. 
The steaming horses toiling till 
Upon the summit of the hill 

They rest their heavy load. 

The moat is filled with rustling reeds, 
The ancient gargoyles grin and stare 

There is a sound of droning bees, 

A gentle whispering of trees, 
And sunshine everywhere. 



22 



TRIANON. 

No more the royal lovers walk 

Adown the leafy glade, 
With happy murmurings to talk 

And linger in its shade. 

The fountain now is dry, alas, 

The playful Cupids wait. 
Hoping to hear their footsteps pass 

In through the rustic gate. 

See, see the still and silent lake 

Gleaming between the trees. 
Where yonder slender aspen brake 

Stands trembling in the breeze. 

Across the marble colonnades 

The dying sunbeams glance, 
And, as the daylight slowly fades, 

Begin their shadow dance. 

Hark — through the gently listening wood 

I hear the creatures say 
* They have left Trianon for good, 
And come no more this way." 



23 



NOTRE DAME. 

The pealing organ echoes down the nave, 
The singing ends, and the last worshipper, 
Closing the great west door departs 
Out to the busy street beyond : 
And I am left alone. 

Alone — -yet not alone : 

For where, 'neath drooping banners of the past, 

Tall, twinkling candles burn like stars, 

A silent Presence reigns 

In mystic majesty profound, supreme. 

Alone, too, with the pious dead, 

Whose hallowed memories these walls enshrine, 

Whose voiceless prayers still whisper down the aisles, 

Like falling leaves all rustling in the breeze, 

Born by a power unseen and strange : 

No ! I am not alone, — these cloistered Saints 

Surround me with their prayers, and watch and wait. 

From their high niches in the pillar'd wall 
The twelve Apostles gaze with thoughtful eyes ; 
Around me are Crusaders carved in stone 
Seeming to smile a Benediction : 
Whilst from the shadows of the vaulted roof 
Peer graven faces, twisted and grotesque. 

At yonder shrine a myriad candles burn. 
Pale glimmering lights that gutter in the wind ; 
Each represents a soul — leaping to God — 
Shedding its feeble rays, and dying while it lives. 

24 



A cloud of incense lingers in the air 

Above the gilded organ's silent pipes, 

The sunlight filters through the coloured panes. 

And chirping sparrows safely build their nests 

Amongst the gaping gargoyles in the eaves : 

All is as 'twas a hundred years ago, 

Men live and die, but God's great monument 

Remains the same — till in Eternity 

We prove He changeth not, 

And see His wondrous purposes fulfilled. 



25 



LANTERNS. 

From the dockyard we are gliding, 

With the lighted town astern, 
Out upon the flowing river, 

Where a myriad lanterns burn : 
We are passing wharves and jetties, 

Warehouses all dark and bare, 
Ancient hulks and painted barges, 

And the warships anchored there. 

There are lanterns on the river, 

Blue and yellow, red and green, 
From the many vessels lying 

In the darkness all unseen ; 
There are shadows large and ghostly 

Looming up on either hand, 
Lights and shouts across the water 

From the river to the land. 

And anon, from out the darkness. 

Sounds a cry, a rattling block. 
Whilst the midnight hour is striking 

On some distant village clock. 
Farther down the widening river, 

'Ere we sight the lighted Nore, 
Frightened seagulls greet us wheeling 

In the searchlights from the shore. 



26 



DERWENTWATER. 



In the cool evening when the sun 

Is sinking down the western sky, 
And shadows deepen one by one 

Slowly upon the mountains high ; 
'Tis then I take my boat and row — 

The water rippling in its wake — 
To where the reeds and rushes grow 

On a small island in the lake. 



Beneath the overhanging trees 

I lay aside my dripping oars, 
Cooled by the meadow-scented breeze 

That travels from the distant shores. 
Around me are the rustling reeds, 

Whilst in the limpid depths below 
Among the swaying water weeds, 

Fishes are darting to and fro. 

Tis pleasant thus to dream, and lie 

Rocked by the waters at their will, 
Until the moon is rising high 

Above the trees on Castle hill ; 
Then in its pale and silver light. 

Homeward the lazy oars I ply ; 
O'er lake and island falls the night, 

Her starry mantle fills the sky. 



27 



MEMORIES. 

The sun is glinting through the trees, 
Crimson and gold in the wintry sky ; 
Beneath their branches gaunt and bare 
The fallen leaves lie here and there, 
And a robin's note sounds through the air 
From the holly bush near by. 



Down in the valley flows the brook 
On past the mill where the willows grow ; 
And the old schoolhouse (ivied, grey. 
Stands by the side of the King's highway ; 
Whilst the happy shouts of lads at play 
Come up from the fields below. 



One more I hear the clanging bell 
Ringing out clear in the frosty air ; 
Masters and boys pass to and fro, 
And the fellows that I used to know, 
With merry laugh and a gay "hello," 
Greet me upon the stair. 



In the old form-room around the fire 
We sit again in the ruddy glow, 
Talking noisily, comrades all, 
Till the evening shadows softly fall. 
Hiding the maps upon the wall. 
And we hear the prep, bell go. 

28 



Oh, it is grand to be a boy, 
Grand to be healthy, young and free ; 
For health and youth too soon depart, 
Friendships are lost in the busy mart, 
And little remains to cheer the heart 
Excepting the memory. 



29 



THE PIPES OF PAN. 

Out into the garden stealing, 

On the wings of fancy borne. 
We will wander hand in hand 
Through that wondrous shadow land 

Of the trees beyond the lawn. 

There are lights among the branches, 

Whispers in the waving grass, 
Hooting of the white owl flying. 
And a soft and gentle sighing 

As the evening breezes pass. 

Purple mists across the valley 

Hide the river from our sight ; 
But above its rushing, falling. 
Come a thousand echoes calling 
Through the silence of the night. 

Perchance within the gloomy wood 

A hidden monster sleeping lies, 
Deep in unfathomed waters cool 
Of some dark secret forest pool, 
Unknown, unseen by human eyes. 

Through the shadows thus we pass. 
Lured away by the Pipes of Pan, 
Down moonlight glades and reedy streams, 
Seeking the kingdom of our dreams 
Far from the busy haunts of man. 



30 



FRIENDSHIP. 

I seek a friend — one who, when I am gay, 

Will laugh and sparkling wit exchange ; 

When I am sad, will silent be 

AVith understanding sympathy. 

I seek, in truth, a comrade I could love. 



There are a few — just passers by— 

Who greet me with a smile, a friendly nod ; 

I fancy there is something in their eye, 

A wistful longing half-expressed. 

And we exchange a glance of understanding ; 

Heart leaps to heart — and then. 

Convention bids us part : 

Sighing, we say — " He might have been my friend." 



31 



THE FAIRY RING. 



They tell me that the fairies love 

All to come out at night, 
Whilst the old moon so far above, 

Throws down her silver light. 

The creatures living in the grass 
Look on, and laugh with glee 

To see the fairy pageant pass 
Beneath the magic tree. 

The elves, and goblins too, are there 
On toadstools, sitting round. 

Fairies are flying in the air 
And dancing on the ground. 

Now, I have often wandered out 
Among the trees and hay. 

To see if fairies were about 
And join them in their play. 

But I have never fairies seen 
All dancing round a tree ; 

— I wonder why the fairy queen 
Won't come and play with me ? 



32 



MORN. 

Awake, awake, the skylark sings, 
Behold the day is dawning ; 

Black night has spread her silver wings, 
And now has come the morning. 

The crimson sunrise paints the sky, 
No more pale stars are gleaming ; 

On your soft couch no longer lie 
In slothful slumber dreaming. 

The dew-drops glisten in the grass, 
The milkmaid's cans are swinging ; 

And where the perfumed breezes pass, 
The heather bells are ringing. 

Awake, awake from idle dreams 

Now that the night is over. 
For trout are dancing in the streams, 

And bees among the clover. 



33 



CHRISTMASTIDE. 

Over the dark deserted heath 
The whirling snow is falling fast, 
And where the inn stands, lone and gray 
Tall slender fir trees bend and sway 
Before the fury of the blast. 

Along the white and winding road 
The sound of distant wheels is borne, 
And presently a coach-and-four 
Pulls up before the ancient door, 
With crackling whip and merry horn. 

Around the old oak-panelled hall 
Hang mistletoe and holly bright, 
And now the door is opened wide, 
Revealing the warm fire inside 
To tired travellers of the night. 

Down to the lighted supper room 
Quickly the hungry guests retire, 
Where soon a pleasant meal is spread ; 
Cosily drawn are the curtains red 
And the yule log hisses on the fire. 

The landlord in his private den 
Fills up his neighbour's glass once more, 
Then pipes are lit, and stories told. 
Whilst the wind whistles loud and cold, 
And the sign board creaks above the door. 



34 



To his poster bed, up the narrow stair, 

Before the day is dawning — 

Each guest departs, with a guttering light ; 

''Sleep well," they cry, " Good night, good night. 

For to-morrow is Christmas morning." 



35 



WINDOWS DREAR. 

The casements rattle in their frames 

Of mouldering wood, and many a pane 
Litters this house of bygone names, 
Broken by wind and rain. 

With vacant and unseeing eyes 

Into the darkening depths they stare, 
Where vegetation rank defies 

Some former gardener's care. 

Lights flicker in the murky air. 

And vague and shadowy forms are seen ; 
Past memories are stirring there 
Of people who have been. 

The waving branches bend and sigh, 

The ivy whispers on the wall, 
" Why are men born to live and die ? 
Why ever born at all ? '' 



36 



THE BIRD OF HOPE. 

Sometimes to my shady garden, 
When the bell for Vespers rings, 
A strange bird will come a-roaming 
Through the purple-tinted gloaming, 
And a wondrous song he sings. 

He will sing of gorse and heather, 
Of the lilies in the pond, 
Of the little sparkling rills 
Trickling down the sunlit hills 
To the smiling lands beyond. 

Sing of children in the meadows 
Playing with their daisy chains ; 
Of the butterflies and flowers, 
And the pleasant sunny hours 
Spent in quiet country lanes. 

Notes of liquid gold are pouring 
From the fountain's broken bowl ; 
Memories come surging, thronging, 
Till unutterable longing 
Steals across my weary soul. 

When the silver moon is climbing 
Through the lattice of the sky ; 
He will leave the broken fountain, 
And away towards the mountain 
My strange visitor will fly. 



37 



To his nest among the tree tops, 
Where the pines grow on the hill, 
Golden-plumed and amethyst, 
Disappearing in the mist. 
By the rushing watermill. 

In the breeze I hear a sighing 
From the marshlands by the sea, 
As the heavy booming roar 
Of the breakers on the shore 
Comes across the dunes to me. 

I'll forget the ocean's calling, 
With its voice of grief and pain, 
When, with music from the mountain, 
To the softly dripping fountain, 
My strange bird returns again. 



38 



THE CUCKOO. 



Haunting, haunting melody 
Coming o'er the hills to me, 
Wafted on the evening breeze 
Voices calling in the trees 
Cuckoo, cuckoo. 



Sweeter music never could 
Echo through the leafy wood 
Than that singing, low and clear. 
Calling distant, calling near. 
Cuckoo, cuckoo 



How I love to hear you sing 
Little harbinger of Spring, 
Memories are stirred again 
By your friendly soft refrain 
Cuckoo, cuckoo. 



39 



THE NIGHT STORM. 

Above the ocean's ebbing, flowing, 
Stands a mansion grey and dun ; 

With its many windows glowing 
Crimson in the setting sun. 

High up the wall the ivy climbs — 

Green mantle over turrets grey- 
To the old tower clock that chimes 
The dreamy hours of time away. 

The lawns and gardens stretch to where 
The bending poplars thrash the sky ; 

And through the orchard brown and bare 
The noisy seagulls wheel and cry. 

Across the mossy garden wall 

The salt winds chant in minor keys, 

And past the twisted chimneys tall 
Go singing o'er the waving trees. 

Below the terrace where I roam 
The restless waters heave and roar, 

Casting driftwood up and foam 

Amongst the seaweed on the shore. 

Far out to sea a mist of rain 

Obscures the passing ships from sight ; 
God bring them safe to port again, 

And guard the sailors out to-night. 

40 



MOTHER MINE. 

Sometimes at night, while stars their watch are keeping, 

My door is softly opened, and I hear 
Your footsteps enter, and, although Fm sleeping, 

Feel your arms round me, know that you are near. 

When o'er the keys my restless fingers winging 
Play some sweet melody divine and rare, 

Sometimes I hear your voice beside me singing, 
Rising and falling in the evening air. 

Oh gentle Mother, where through life I wander, 

Be it on sea or land, on plain or hill ; 
God grant your memory grow ever fonder, 

Your presence and your voice be with me still, 



To guide me by their fragrance and their beauty, 
That I may learn to walk the paths you trod. 

Of Love unfettered. Purity, and Duty, 

Leading me upward home to you — and God. 



41 




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